Unmounted Exercises



Julia was introduced to Dressage by Wylie Roberts, a coach at the AEC in Beaverbank, Nova Scotia. She was immediately intrigued by the graceful athleticism demonstrated by the horse and rider team. During her first lesson, Julia quickly recognized the level of fitness and body awareness required by the rider in order to successfully deliver aids and communicate with the horse (not as easy as it had looked from the ground!). Julia Mitchel and Wylie Roberts with Sabrina After helping Wylie recover from a low back injury that was being aggravated by insufficient core control, Julia and Wylie saw the need for an equestrian exercise program designed to improve the skill and fitness level of the rider. Julia has used her knowledge of human anatomy and movement and combined it with Wylie’s experience as a Dressage coach, to design group clinics and one on one sessions. Improving the posture and function of the rider can help to prevent injury and will make the rider more effective; allowing the horse to have better carriage.

Clinics involve simple techniques for improving stability in the saddle, and advance to exercises with stability balls, elastic bands and wobble boards. Arena observation and video analysis are also available, with individualized feedback and specific exercise program development.



Julia Mitchell is an equestrian enthusiast who believes that improving the performance of the rider will improve the performance of the horse. She enjoys sharing her ideas with riders of all levels – whether they’re looking to ride a better test, or simply improve their relationship with their horse. She has previous coaching experience with gymnastics and currently stays active in the sports of rowing and ultimate.

Julia is a physiotherapist who currently works out of Cove Sport Therapy in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Julia’s NCCP (National Coaching Certification Program) #: 751645



Current Clinics


Strength in the Saddle

When a rider has strong and controlled muscles around the low back and hips (the core), an independent seat in the saddle becomes much easier. The “Strength in the Saddle” clinic will teach the rider how to effectively train and activate these core muscles in order to maintain an ideal riding posture, while smoothly absorbing the movements from the horse. At the end of the clinic the rider will have simple techniques to practice, improving body awareness and core control in the saddle.

Exercises will be performed unmounted during this clinic. Group and individual clinics are available.




Julia helps a student during one of the exercises

Stability in the Saddle

(Strength in the Saddle is recommended prior to participating in Stability in the Saddle)

Precise and consistent communication between horse and rider is crucial for excelling at the various disciplines of riding. This communication happens via the use of independent arm and leg aids, which can often create an inadvertent imbalance in the saddle. This weight imbalance can cause confusion to the horse, or loss of stability for the rider such as dropping a shoulder, or a leg coming away from the horse. Successful delivery of an aid involves the movement of arms or legs while maintaining a stable seat. This stability is achieved by training muscle slings, the long muscle groups that travel from our extremities through our core. The exercises from “Strength in the Saddle” are the starting point for the “Stability in the Saddle” clinic. At the end of the clinic, the rider will have simple techniques to practice, allowing successful and consistent delivery of aids while maintaining an independent seat.

Exercises will be taught unmounted using stability balls, wobble boards, reins and elastic tubing. Group and individual clinics are available.




Endurance in the Saddle

(Strength and Stability in the Saddle are recommended prior to participating in Endurance in the Saddle)

The level of fitness a rider has greatly impacts their performance in the saddle. One’s technique is often better at the beginning of a ride than at the end, for both novice and experienced riders. Endurance while riding is the ability to have strength and control in the saddle over a long period of time. This means, keeping correct posture throughout the ride. “Finding your Fitness” will incorporate a variety of riding related exercises in a circuit format, using the principles of interval training to improve the rider’s endurance. This fun and energetic workout will translate to better technique for the duration of a ride, and improve the overall development of the rider.

Exercises will be performed unmounted. Group and individual clinics are available.